NATIONAL .05 BAC

See also: Alcohol Impairment
See also: Alcohol Impairment Charts
See also: National .08 BAC

National Transportation Safety Board "NTSB unveils interventions to reach zero alcohol-impaired crashes" May 14, 2013. Suggestions include lowering the BAC to .05, ignition interlocks, sobriety checkpoints, media campaigns, and passive alcohol sensors. http://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20130514.aspx

"Alcohol and the driver," Council on Scientific Affairs, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (1986), 254 (6): 522-527. art (1. Alcohol causes deterioration of driving skills beginning at 0.05% ABC (50 mg of ethanol per deciliter of blood) or even lower. Deterioration progresses rapidly with rising ABC to serious impairment of driving skills at ABCs of 0.10% and above, according to scientific consensus. 2. Drivers with ABCs of 0.05% to 0.10% are significantly represented in road crash statistics. 3. Drivers aged 16 to 21 years have the highest rate of alcohol-involved fatal crashes per mile, with lower average ABCs than older drivers. The Council on Scientific Affairs recommends that the AMA (1) direct public information and education against any drinking by drivers and encourage other organizations to do the same; (2) adopt a position supporting a 0.05% ABC as per se illegal for driving and urge incorporation of that position into all state DI laws; (3) reaffirm the position supporting 21 years as the legal drinking age, strong penalties for providing alcohol to persons younger than 21 years, and stronger penalties for providing alcohol to drivers younger that 21 years; (4) urge adoption by all states of an administrative suspension or revocation of driver licenses after DI conviction and mandatory revocation after a specified number of repeat offenses; (5) encourage automobile industry efforts to develop a safety module that thwarts operation of a car by an intoxicated person. Uses Dubowski material from ART for inter individual differences and O'Neill for support of 2300:1 brace.)

Alcohol limits for drivers: a report on the effects of alcohol and expected institutional response to new limits: a Report to Congress, February, 1991. U. S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 107p. (No safe alcohol limit without impairment exists. Recommends BAC be lowered to .05.)

"Alcohol metabolism, " ALCOHOL ALERT (1997), 35 PH 371. (Explains how alcohol is metabolized by the body and factors affecting this metabolism such as food, gender, medications, body weight, and so on.) Address: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa35.htm

"Alcohol-related impairment," ALCOHOL ALERT (1994), 25 PHA 351, July. ["The brain's control of eye movements is highly vulnerable to alcohol. In driving, the eyes must focus briefly on important objects in the visual field ant track them as they (and the vehicle) move. Low to moderate ABC's (0.03 to 0.05 percent) interfere with voluntary eye movements, impairing the eye's ability to rapidly track a moving target(8-10). Steering is a complex psychomotor task in which alcohol effects on eye-to-hand reaction time are superimposed upon the visual effects described above. Significant impairment in steering ability may begin as low as approximately 0.035 percent ABC and rises as ABC increases (11). Research on the effects of alcohol on performance by both automobile and aircraft operators shows a narrowing of the attentional field beginning at approximately 0.04 percent ABC (13).]
Address: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa25.htm

"Blood alcohol concentration and driving (position statement)," ANNALS OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE (1987), 29 (6): 835. (A blood alcohol level of .08 % is per se evidence of driving while impaired and a ABC of .05 % is presumptive evidence of impaired driving.)

Brubacher, J. R., et al., "Reduction in fatalities, ambulance calls, and hospital admissions for road trauma after implementation of new traffic laws", AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (2014, August 14). Canadian research into the effects of changing drunk driving laws to penalize drivers at the 005 blood-alcohol concentration level could lead other lawmakers to consider adopting this legislation. Alcohol-related fatal vehicle crashes dropped 40% after British Columbia began penalties for drivers with .05 BACs. According to University of British Columbia research, automobile crashes declined 21?, crash-related hospital admissions fell 8% and auto crash-related ambulance calls dropped 7.2%.

Campbell, C. H.; Hanse, A. R.; "Blood alcohol concentration in motor vehicle crash victims: a survey of North Carolina Emergency physician attitudes and utilization patterns," NORTH CAROLINA MEDICAL JOURNAL (1992), 53 (9): 461-3. (Here are the facts: 1) motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in Americans aged 6 to 34 years. 2) A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 g/DLL is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a non-drinking driver. 3) Driving after drinking is often not a sporadic behavior. Between 20% to 33% of drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated are subsequently arrested again on the same charge. 4.) According to Sonderstrom et al, drunken driving signals an underlying alcohol abuse disorder. Indeed, it is reasonable to conclude that any alcohol use leading to injury should be considered a symptom of alcoholism.)

Chamberlain, E.; Solomon, R.; "The case for 0.05% criminal law blood alcohol concentration limit for driving", INJURY PREVENTION (2002), 8:1-17, suppl3.iii.1. Canada established its current 0.08% "Criminal Code" blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers in 1969. At the time, this was a substantial improvement, as it established a per se BAC limit under the criminal law and required impaired driving suspects to provide breath samples. However, in the more than three decades that have followed, breath testing instruments have become more accurate, public attitudes toward impaired driving have hardened, and scientific research as established that impairment begins at levels below 0.08%. In response, the international trend was and continues to be to reduce per se BAC limits to 0.05% or lower. The legal limit is reported to be 0.05% in numerous countries, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Coatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Russia and Sweden have legal limits of 0.02% and Poland has a limit of 0.03%. Finally, the official limit is reported to be 0.00% in the Czech Republic,Hungary, Malaysia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, while Japan's limit is 0.00% in practice.

Di Mia, V. J. M.; Garrett, J. C.; "How valid is the 0.10 percent alcohol level as an indicator of intoxication?" PATHOLOGIST (1985), March: 33-35. (Researchers have shown that consistent impairment of reaction responses occurs at blood alcohol concentrations in excess of 0.07%. When either visual or tracking functions were combined, with more complex situation in which there are simultaneous visual and tracking response, impairment of performance occurred at low alcohol concentrations. This impairment in complex situations is concerned with the interference of the ability of the brain to process large quantities of information from more than one source at a time. Alcohol impairs driving performance because driving requires the division of attention between a visual search and recognition task and tracking test. Significant impairment begins to appear at blood alcohol concentrations of 0.05%. Reduction of the ABC to 0.05% can be justified on a scientific basis.)

"Drinking and driving," ALCOHOL ALERT (1996), 31, PHA 362, January. ["The many skills involved in driving are not all impaired at the same ABC's (3). For example, a driver's ability to divide attention between two or more sources of visual information can be impaired by ABC's of 0.02 percent or lower (3-5). However, it is not until ABCs of 0.05 percent or more are reached that impairment occurs consistently in eye movements, glare resistance, visual perceptions, reaction time, certain types of steering tasks, information processing, and other aspects of psychomotor performance (3,4,6,7).]

"Facts about alcohol," Television Corporation of Singapore (1995). ("Recommendations: The legal limit for ABC when operating a motor vehicle should be lowered to 0.050/0. It has been demonstrated in this paper that impairment of vision, motor skills, and cognitive functions occurs at ABCs well below the current legal limit of 0.08%, the scientific consensus is that levels of physical impairment significant to the driving task begin at 0.05%. In addition, epidemiologic evidence examined in the document shows that risk of accident begins to increase significantly at or about the 0.05% ABC level.")

Fell, James C; Voas, Robert B.; "The effectiveness of reducing illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) Limits for driving: evidence for lowering the limit to .05 BAC in Canada"; Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, May, 2003, 40p. "The purpose of this scientific review is to provide a summary of the evidence regarding the benefits of reducing the illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving and providing a case for enacting a .05 BAC Criminal Code limit in Canada.

The international trend continues to be to reduce illegal criminal per se limits to .05 BAC or lower. The illegal limits is .05 BAC in numerous countries including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Russia, Sweden and Norway have a limit of .02 BAC and Poland recently went to l03 BAC. Several countries have reported studies indicating that lowering the illegal per se limit from .08 BAC to .05 BAC reduces alcohol-related fatalities.

Laboratory studies indicate that impairment in critical driving functions begins at low BACs and that most subjects are significantly impaired at .05 BAC with regard to visual acuity, vigilance, drowsiness, psychomotor skills, and information processing compared to their performance at .00 BAC. The relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash as a drivers is 4 to 10 times greater for drivers with BACs between .05 and .07 compared to drivers with .00 BACs. Leading medical, crash prevention, public health and traffic safety organization in the world support BAC limits at .05 BAC or lower.

Fell, James; Voas, Robert B.; "The effectiveness of reducing illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits for driving: evidence for lowering the limit to .05 BAC", JOURNAL 0F SAFETY RESEARCH (2006), (37): 233-243. This scientific review provides a summary of evidence regarding the benefits of reducing the illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving and providing a case for enacting a .05 BAC limit. Fourteen independent studies in the United States indicate that lowering the illegal BAC limit from .10 to .08 has resulted in 5-16% reductions in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities, or injuries. However the illegal limit is .05 BAC in numerous countries around the world. Several studies indicate that lowering the illegal per se limit from .08 to ,05 BAC also reduces alcohol-related fatalities. Laboratory studies indicate that impairment in critical driving functions begins at lower BACs and that most subjects re significantly impaired at .05 BAC. The relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash as a driver is 4 to 10 times greater for drivers with BACs between .05 and .07 compared to drivers with .00 BACs. Summary: There is strong evidence in the literature that lowering the BAC limit from .10 to .08 is effective, that lowering the BAC limit from .08 to .05 is effective, and that lowering the BAC limit for youth to .02 or lower is effective. These law changes serve as a general deterrent to drinking and driving and ultimately save lives.

Fell, James; Voas, Robert; "Evidence for lowering the BAC Limit to .05", JOURNAL OF SAFETY OF RESEARCH (from ICADETS newsletter). "Fourteen states indicate that lowering the illegal BAC limit from .10 to .08 has resulted in 5-16% reductions in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities, or injuries. Several studies indicate that lowering the illegal per se limit from .08 to .05 BAC also reduces alcohol-related fatalities. Laboratory studies indicate that impairment in critical driving function begins at low BACs and that most subjects are significantly impaired at .05 BAC. The relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash as a driver is 4 to 10 times greater for drivers with BACs between .05 and .07 compared to drivers with .00 BACs. There is strong evidence in the literature that lowering the BAC limit from .10 to .08 is effective, that lowering the BAC limit from .08 to .05 is effective, and that lowering the BAC limit for youth to .02 or lower is effective. These law changes serve as a general deterrent to drinking and driving and ultimately save lives. The authors conclude that this critical review supports the adoption of lower illegal BAC limits for driving"

Hedlund, J. H.; "If they didn't drink, would they crash anyway?--The role of alcohol in traffic Crashes," ALCOHOL, DRUGS, AND DRIVING (1994), 10 (2): 115-125. (Crash data shows that many crash-involved drivers have alcohol in their blood. In the US in 1992, an estimated 29% of drivers in fatal crashes had some measurable alcohol. Extensive research shows that alcohol impairs driving-related tasks such as divided attention, comprehension, reaction time, and coordination. In addition, several studies show directly that drivers with alcohol in their blood have a greater crash risk than drivers at similar times and places without alcohol. This evidence has been sufficient for most jurisdictions throughout the world to make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (ABC) exceeding some specified level (typically ranging from 0.05 to 0.10 Each of the three methods gives clear evidence that alcohol increases crash risk. The first finds that crash risk increases rapidly as ABCs rise above 0.05-0.07, for drivers of all drinking frequencies. The second finds that crash responsibility increases as ABC increases for crash-involved drivers. And the third finds measures to reduce drinking and driving that have in fact reduced all crashes. These strongly suggest that reduced drinking and driving does indeed reduce crashes.)

Hingson, R.; Heeren, T., Winter, M.; "Effect of Mane's 0.05% legal blood alcohol level for drivers with DWI convictions: driving while intoxicated," PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTS (1998), 113 (5): 440-7. (Significant decline in drivers with prior DWI convictions after Maine enacted a law lowering the legal blood alcohol (BAL) from 0.10% to 0.05% for people convicted of driving while intoxicated.)

Hingson, R.; "Prevention of drinking and driving," ALCOHOL HEALTH AND RESEARCH WORLD (1996), 22, Sept.: 219-27. (Fourth, people who drive after heavy drinking (defined as five or more drinks in one sitting) are much more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors, such as speeding,running red lights, making illegal turns, driving after other drug use, and failure to wear a safety belts. "For all groups of drivers, fatal crash involvement per miles driven increases ten fold at ABC's of 0.05 to 0.09 percent, Zador, 1991."

Hindmarch, I.; Bhatti, J. Z.; Starmer, G. A.; Mascord, D. J.; Kerr, J. S.; Sherwood, N.: "The Effects of alcohol on the cognitive function of males and females and on skills relating to car driving," HUMAN PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY (1992), 7: 105-114. (9 males and 9 females, four doses of alcohol at 1 g per kg body weight or a placebo, brace. Subjects were tested on two batteries of psychological tests related to skills involved in driving. The results showed a linear increase in the disruption of performance with dose for many of the tests, particularly those involving psychomotor function. It was demonstrated that on certain tasks males were affected ore by alcohol and females. In conclusion, moderate doses of alcohol , resulting in ABCs of 0.05 to 0.08 g/100 ml, can produce significant deficits in perceptual and motor skills related to driving a vehicle.)

Krull, K. R., Smith L. T.; Sinha, R.; Parsons, O. A.; "Simple reaction time event-related potentials: effects of alcohol and sleep deprivation," ALCOHOLISM: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (1993), 17 (4): 771-777. (54 males, brace, two groups .05 and .08, and sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation slowed initial stimulus detection, whereas alcohol slowed later processing and response activation.)

Langenbucher, J. W.; Nathan, P. E.; "Psychology, public policy, and the evidence of alcohol intoxication," AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST (1983), October, 1070-77. ("Accordingly, the AMA, believing this cutoff to be too permissive (0.150 mg/%), recommended in 1960 that blood alcohol of 0.10 percent [100 mg/% be accepted as prima facie evidence of alcohol intoxication, recognizing that many individual are under the influence in the 0.05 percent to 0.10 percent range. Whether a person is sober or intoxicated is not a matter of common observation; rather, it requires special skill and special training. The assumption that social drinkers would prove to be accurate judge of the BALs of other persons was not confirmed.)

Naranjo, C. A.; Bremner, K. E.; "Behavioral correlates of alcohol intoxication," ADDICTION (1993), 88 (1): 25-35. (Adverse social consequences related to alcohol intoxication include impaired driving, acts of aggression and violence towards self and others, and various types of accidents. The observation that [positive ABC is inversely related to using a seat belt may be one factor increasing the risk of serious injury or fatality in a motor vehicle accident. alcohol is more frequently involved in fatal crashes and fatal pedestrian accidents at night than during the day, and on weekends rather than on weekdays. Alcohol impairs information-processing abilities crucial to driving at blood concentrations as low as 0.015%, Howat et al. recommended lowering the legal ABC limit to 0.05%).

"Operating Vehicles Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Drugs/Underage Drinking and Driving" is an AMA position paper endorsing lowering the BAC to .04, (1997) and other things, with a web site:

Definition of a heavy drinker--5 or more drinks on one occasion with 5 or more occasions per month.

updated 12/12/16